Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Going to Seed

A work associate has a wife interested in gardening.  The only problem is - she wants immediate gratification.  She buys full grown plants rather than trying seeds.  But she's young and learning.  A package of seeds costs so much less than a full grown plant and produces so much more.  Plus, the plants are probably healthier when started properly by seed.  I start seeds in place outside most all year round.  The right seed in the right hole works most every time.
Nasturtiums and peppers planted May 28, 2012.
Being contrary to the last statement, I was searching for some bell pepper plants to add to the garden this weekend.  The available specimens were either pitiful or outrageously overpriced ($2.98/seedling!).  I had to revert to my original mantra and grow from seed.

Not only is it the most economical way to garden, but it's convenient too.  Whenever possible and practical, seeds are collected to use the following season.  If the variety works well in the garden, why mess with success?  Collect the successful varieties for later use or trade and share.  Don't forget to label the container.  That's a trick I'm still learning.
Sweet Peas collected in an old peanut butter tub for drying.
Radishes, herbs, beans, and squash can bring fairly fast results.  Sunflowers, sweet peas, and morning glories may grow so fast and furious that they may gain "weed" status in the garden.  What a danged shame more gardeners don't use seeds.
Sadly, Ferry Morse Seed Company is closing down it's operations around the USA.  Hope this is simply a reorganization and not an indicator of the preference of gardeners. 

Try picking up a packet of seeds and see how much more satisfying gardening can be from seed to seed.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Gotta Dance!

Thornless Boysenberries
It's boysenberry time in the garden.  I'm noting this to alert myself that as each Memorial Day nears, the boysenberries will be ready to harvest.  There are 6 plants total.  One of those is a bit older than the rest; so production is anticipated to increase through the years.

Not as many make it into the kitchen as are picked.  The picking crew (me) needs to remain energized and samples continuously.  The birds in the surrounding yards seem to squawk a bit more when I'm using my thumbs and brain to weave my way through the netting to the sweet, tasty treats.  So far, there has been no evidence of bird damage. *Insert sound of loud knocking on wood.*

Who can blame the birds for squawking?
Photo via iPad while listening to Fred Astaire's Steppin Out With My Baby.

Because we should all dance in the garden.  Try and keep up...

I would be lucky to look like this...

Perhaps the birds are commenting on my dancing skills with their squawks.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Not Again!

Is that a Split Leaf in your pants or are you just happy to see me?

The first of three pods on the Split Leaf Philodendron has burst open.  It is the weirdest plant in the garden.  The scent is very, tropically sweet.  I suppose that is an attractant.  After Mama Nature has done her thing, then this phallic symbol retreats into its hooded pod and starts producing some sort of fruit.

Don't know if I have the courage to sample the fruit.  Let me know if you've tried this and what you think.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"Hasta La Vista, Baby"

Their life ended with a slippery "squash" leaving a green stain on the driveway on this warm May evening.  Lilac lace dripped under the boysenberry beds.  Lacey petals were the cause of evil interlopers.  Once full, draping petals fluttered in the breeze attracting all kinds of pollinators.  Even evil pollinators.  Yes.  Budworms have attacked the petunias leaving tattered petals in their wake.

Each evening I tour the garden.  Lately, attention is on the petunias to hunt budworms.  Since they grow under the boysenberries, I prefer to hand pick the buggers.  You can pick the damaged bud from the plant and dump it in a bucket of soapy water.  The caterpillars inch down the throat of the blossom to dine on the delicate salad.  Picking the damaged bud is fine since it's ruined anyway.  Budworm hunting season in Bakersfield is May and August (and probably all summer long); so this is a task that needs to be tended to diligently.
Heliothis Virescens - Geranium Budworm
Budworms attack more than just geraniums and petunias.  I have found that gently shaking the plant can jar them from their dinner; but since the buds are already ruined I suppose picking the bud is the neatest way to snag them.  I don't use soapy water.  My trophies get marched out to the driveway just as "Taps" is sounding at sunset.  Then, SMASH!  My garden Croc sends them to the heavens with a "Yippee-ki-yay".  Rinse.  Repeat.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mamas' Day!

Mourning doves nesting directly below scare tape!
Because I can't properly irrigate the basket at the front door, the plants are suffering at the expence of a squatter family.  They should be on their way soon and the basket will get replanted.  My gift for Mamas' Day from Farmer MacGregor came in the form of power equipment.
Don't be too quick to judge Old MacGregor on his choice of gifts.  He knows that I like the lawn to have a crisp, clean edging.  The string edger didn't do the job as well.  Besides, it's not running right.  Now here's the best part:  I don't operate this machinery.  MacGregor was up early this morning putting the edger through its paces.  THAT is a great gift...plus he got a cash discount.

Hope all the mamas have a nice day.

Split Leaf Update:
The weird growth on the Split Leaf Philodendron is ahead of schedule this year.  I noticed the pod last weekend and finally got around to recording the image today.  And there are now 2  3 pods.  Progress will be posted here regualarly.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Tomatoes Are Here!

It's kinda disappointing when most of your local fellow gardeners are realizing tomatoes in their garden.  I have plenty of blossoms and the Celebrity plants are healthy.  Tall frames used year after year are being used in a different way to support the plants.  Heirloom varieties grow tall and are "strung" vertically.  This year, hybrid tomatoes are working to starve those nasty nematodes.  The string is still being used except I wind figure "8s" around the wooden posts horizontally -  lassoing the plants kinda like a ladder.

Nonetheless.  No tomatoes.  Tonight's garden inspection revealed that the plants are enjoying the recent heat and have pushed a bunch of green growth.  As I was tucking the new growth into the string supports, I discovered fruit!  There they were...developing beneath the shade of all those leaves.

Celebrity Tomato - pea sized

Celebrity Tomato - bigger than pea sized
I can hardly wait to report my progress.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Garden Update

A quick post for a garden update using pictures (mostly) with few words:
Sweet Peas
Sweet Peas continue to bloom but seed production is increasing.  I've been taking bouquets to work for sometime now.  Sweet Pea bouquets will soon be replaced with Lavender bouquets.

Crookneck Squash
Crookneck Squash is trying produce despite some chewing varmint.  I'll need to make a midnight investigation to determine the culprit.

Black Beauty Zucchini
Zucchini was planted on April 29 along with radishes and parsley. Seeds germinated a couple of days later.  I must now start my search for some unsuspecting neighbor or work associate to flood with gifts of abundant squash.
Thornless Boysenberry
Boysenberries are starting to ripen.  Bird netting has been installed to shoo away pesky birds that mistake the garden as their own personal fly-in diner.  Scare tape works on most birds but hungry birds and those building nests laugh at the fluttering tape.  Perhaps scare tape works like a neon sign to those birds saying, "Let's Eat" or "Vacancy".  There are 3 known Mourning Dove nests directly adjacent to scare tape.  Phooey.
Sadly, the beets are about finished.  I have no idea what variety I've grown.  Whenever there was a bare spot, I would find a pack of seeds and plant.  There's a complete mix growing; but they are starting to bolt.  Supplies and the local Farmers' Market have dwindled too.  Thankfully, I have a nice big jar of pickled beets in the refrigerator to carry me through until I find a source for the summer.
Some spent carrots were removed over Cinco de Mayo weekend and replaced with hills of green beans and marigolds.  There are still carrots producing well in the former "Salad Bed".  Once they have finished, they may be replaced with more onions.  You can never have too many onions.
White Lisbon Onions
White Lisbon and Spanish Utah onions were planted on April 16.  White Lisbons are used as bunching onions and the Spanish Utah will be used for storage.  However, all onion varieties are used as green onions as they are thinned.
Granny Smith Apple
Most all the fruit trees have fruit - plum, peach, apple, apricot, grapefruit, orange, mandarin, lemon.  They are all fertilized regularly and get pruned as needed.  Those growing espalier require more attention than the citrus.
I've lost track of the varieties of strawberries in the garden.   Sweet Pinky was one variety and I can't find the name of the other.  Nonetheless, the strawberries are popping and the birds know it.

Note:  I still cannot post using Live Writer and am relying on Blogger (mostly).

Sunday, May 6, 2012

iPad Post

Posting from the comfort of my patio swing.
Okay.  So I have a bit to learn when it comes to posting via iPad. 
This morning, spent carrots were removed and green beans were planted.  Each hill of beans (Hey is that where the expression comes from?!) has some bamboo stakes tee-pee'd over it to serve as a trellis.
The tomatoes had quite a bit of new growth this week; so that was tied up.

This afternoon was dedicated to the patio swing and sharpening my mad computer/iPad skillz.  The photo was taken from that sweet seat.  In the forground is the "gravel pit" under the pergola.  That should be getting replaced with concrete and flower beds.  Watch for progress here.

This evening was going to be dedicated to trimming the espalier.  Fiddle dee dee. Tomorrow is another day.